The pandemic gave us all an opportunity to really look at the issues our community was facing before the crisis began. Homelessness, food insecurity, declining mental health, addictions, isolation, elder care and the digital divide were all issues our community faced a year and half ago – the pandemic only exacerbated them and increased the urgency and impact on our community. The pandemic further showed the disproportionate impact on women and marginalized groups such as BIPOC, persons with disabilities and low-income households.
A Radical Recovery
We know we can’t return to the status quo – so our approach to recovery is anything but. We are being radically local in our approach, with the goal of solving local problems with local solutions and empowering those closest to the issues to help us all learn, unlearn and work together to leverage each other’s assets.
New for 2021
Earlier in 2021, we began the process of updating our Community Impact Strategy, both in response to the pandemic and in an effort to make funding more accessible, address inequities and support our community’s evolving needs. Our investment model has changed to become more flexible in the way that we provide funding and also to provide more opportunities during the year to access funding in a way that better meets the needs of organizations.
For an overview of that process and the outcome, click here for the full report.
We are working to build impact in 5 areas:
Resilience in children and youth through emotional wellbeing, because we know that helping to prevent and mitigate adverse childhood experiences is both urgent and foundational to lifelong potential;
Belonging, inclusion, and connection to supports in community, because we know that isolation, mental health, and informal and formal supports are critical issues coming out of the pandemic;
Dedicated investment for equity-seeking and rights-seeking groups, because we know that real, tangible barriers to resources and belonging in our communities persist;
Aligned collaborative supports for food, housing, and financial security, because we know individuals and families need comprehensive opportunities to stabilize, recover, and build their futures; and
Focused investment and presence in rural communities, responsive to their unique needs.
In addition to multi-year investments in the areas above, we will also offer flexible funding opportunities for smaller projects, with application periods three times/year. These will allow United Way to make responsive funding in emerging areas at multiple times throughout the year and will ensure organizations have an opportunity to apply for funding with limited barriers.
How We Fund
Investing in our community is a challenging task – every year, funding requests exceed the amount of money raised. United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin’s funding process is thorough, and relies on the support of a committee of Community Impact volunteers to provide support on identifying community needs, review funding applications and recommend funding levels to United Way’s Board of Directors.
An open call for Letters of Intent from organizations wishing to apply for funding will be open between August 30, 2021-September 24, 2021. For more information on the application process, click here.
We are committed to remaining open and transparent and supporting organizations through this process. If at any time you have questions about potential alignment, what this means for your organization or questions about the application process, please let us know. Our intention is to create lasting, positive change in the community, reduce barriers and provide greater flexibility to respond to our communities’ needs, and we are excited about working in partnership with you.